British Health Agency Bans Puberty Blockers For Kids

The ongoing public debate over whether children who identify as transgender should be allowed to receive irreversible procedures and surgeries has led to a hodgepodge of policies implemented across the United States and around the world over the past several years.

In England, however, the National Health Service has taken a decisive step toward protecting minors from the possible physical and mental issues that can result from receiving one increasingly popular treatment.

An announcement this week that puberty blockers would no longer be administered to children came in response to the findings of a study by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence regarding the impact of such hormones on developing bodies.

The review itself was initiated amid an ongoing increase in the number of children seeking care by a national health clinic known as the Gender Identity Development Service. Over the course of a decade — 2012 to 2022 — the number of children referred to the clinic per year increased from 250 to more than 5,000.

“NHS England has carefully studied the evidence review conducted by NICE (2020) and has identified and reviewed any further published evidence available to date,” the agency explained. “We have concluded that there is not enough evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of [puberty suppressing hormones] to make the treatment routinely available at this time.”

A small number of children already undergoing such treatments will be permitted to continue receiving the hormones.

“On an exceptional, case by case basis any clinical recommendation to prescribe PSH for the purpose of puberty suppression outside of research and in contradiction to the routine commissioning position set out in this policy must be considered and approved by a national multidisciplinary team,” the NHS advised.

The decision drew statements of support from some prominent U.K. figures, including former Prime Minister Liz Truss, who is also advancing a bill that seeks to prohibit the administration of puberty blockers on children by private entities as well as the NHS.

“I welcome NHS England’s decision to end the routine prescription of puberty blockers to children for gender dysphoria,” she said. “I urge the Government to back my Bill on Friday which will reinforce this in law and also prevent these drugs being supplied privately.”